A Matter of Time…

It’s been nearly two months, and staring at a blank page feels… weird.

It shouldn’t be. The fear of the blank page has kind of faded away as I write essay after essay after essay and then a 10,000 word dissertation on top. Yet, I imagine that the feeling of disconnect has come around as a result of my rather lengthy absence from blogging, with the last post being published on 13 April. Sorry about that.

Photo: Pixabay.

Although, on the topic of dissertations, I now face a particular dilemma when it comes to my writing. Three years of academic coursework has programmed my brain somewhat into writing – and reading – non-fiction. It’s either factual journalism, or a detailed essay. The former (if it’s broadcast journalism), allows for some creativity, but for the most part, it’s quotations, analysis and formulaic structures. Big academic subjects have drawn me to books on post-truth, politics and media law. Whilst they have all been fascinating, I fear that getting back into reading and writing fiction will take a very long time indeed.

Yesterday night saw me meet up with fellow writers (both of fiction and non-fiction) and I remember explaining to them that the creative spark – the one where a random character or story idea just pops into your head – has just… gone.

At the end of the evening, I reached this conclusion that this balance between being able to write both journalistic articles and works of fiction would be struck at some point in the future. It would just be a matter of time – and time is something I have a lot of at the moment.

After all, I’ve pretty much finished university now. I mean, I have one shorthand exam towards the end of June (which is external and not to do with coursework) followed by some work experience and then that it me finished at Lincoln until September, when I graduate in a cathedral, which is pretty cool.

Until then (and indeed afterwards), I have a period of time on my hands – ‘free time’, you could say. With no more assignments to complete or any additional commitments to honour, I’m faced with the same freedom I faced at the end of previous academic years, except this feeling is more permanent.

Now comes the job search and an empty diary to be filled with opportunities, job interviews and networking events.

I started writing this questioning whether ‘A Matter of Time’ was the right title for this piece, but now I realise that the phrase is one which I have heard a lot of recently, and it is the perfect way to describe the position in which I find myself.

At the start of my degree in Lincoln, I was told it would only be ‘a matter of time’ before I find myself at the end of my three years, ready to graduate. It’ll hopefully only be ‘a matter of time’ before my love and inspiration for writing fiction returns. It’s only ‘a matter of time’ before I get my first job after graduating…

If the next steps of my life post-education all come down to ‘a matter of time’, then I’m not waiting around.

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Thoughts on Freshers Week 2017

A calendar is pinned up on my noticeboard and once again, a strict routine returns to my life. Dissertation deadlines and exam dates have been added, and I’m back in the mindset which sees me look ahead and soldier on. Although, that hasn’t stopped me from taking a step back this week, as Freshers Week at the University of Lincoln got underway.

In full, the week saw me see Radio 1’s Scott Mills and Chris Stark, Lethal Bizzle – which was an interesting experience for someone who doesn’t like that music at all – and Pendulum (although two of the main three DJs, such as Rob Swire, weren’t present). There were also two of the main club nights in Lincoln – QUACK! and Superbull – as well as a quiz, which we took the cash gamble and lost. Damn.

Other than that, with lessons starting next week, the past seven days have seen me be stuck in some sort of limbo. Aside from working on my radio show yesterday and going to my course’s Welcome Talk for this year, having a week to wait for things to pick up again did make me feel somewhat lazy. I was able to get other things on my to-do list done, but not as much as I would have liked. Annoyingly, I know that I’ll have the motivation to get other things outside of my coursework done – in my spare time, of course – once my course starts again properly tomorrow.

Tonight will hopefully see me take part in my last Freshers Week activity (a ‘rock and roll bingo’) before my Court Reporting and Political Journalism sessions.

The fun starts tomorrow…

In Development…

This week has been one of progression. It started earlier this week with me making a return to public speaking. The last time I had to give a presentation to someone, it was in May last year, when I went to Leeds to give a presentation about myself and my time as a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Youth Advisory Board. Although reading a book by TED’s Chris Anderson provided me with some reassurance, I was still fairly new to the experience.

The presentation still went really well and it was great talking to the young people there, but I had certainly improved when I gave a talk to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Youth Voice on Tuesday this week.

It was a talk on social media, fake news and campaigning, and I was quite flattered that I was asked to chat about the subject (after all, I hardly see myself as an expert on these). Despite that, as I worked my way through the presentation slides, I could sense my own confidence and was able to talk at great length about the three issues. I suppose on this occasion, I was able to chat more about Twitter than I was about myself – but I think that came down to preparing the presentation in advance.

Overall, it was a great experience, the conference itself was great fun, and I even walked away with a greater idea about what my dissertation for next year, too.

It was also on that day that I was offered the role of Editor at the University of Lincoln’s student newspaper, The Linc. After spending the past year as News Editor at the paper, it’s an honour to take the next step up and accept the offer. I look forward to working with a great team next year.

Speaking of third year, it’s as my second year comes to a close that once again, I reflect on what my university experience so far has given me. Already, I have done amazing things with the community radio station in Lincoln and the student newspaper. I’ve applied the skills I’ve learned (such as shorthand, learning about politics and making FOI requests) outside of university and they have given me new opportunities as well.

As my final year approaches, there’s no doubt at all that it was the right decision, but I continue to be amazed at just how quickly time flies.

The Second Year: Flats, Radio and Newspapers

Tonight, I shall be back in Lincoln, ready to start my second year at university. My first year – although it had its ups and downs – led to me making friends for life. I miss them, I miss the beautiful city, and I miss the adrenaline and excitement that comes with studying a journalism degree.


I mentioned this in a recent blog post, but I have a lot to look forward to this year. I become a course representative for my journalism course, start work as the News Editor at the student newspaper and return to hosting my radio show on Siren FM – which I love doing.
There’s that, plus the fact that I’ll be aiming to pass my NCTJ 100wpm shorthand exam. It’s the final exam I need to do and I know it’s going to be hard, but I can’t wait to start working towards it.

The other thing is that I have my own space now. Last year I learned that living in a group flat in student accommodation wasn’t really my thing, and that I still wasn’t ready to move into a house just yet. This year, I’ll be living in a studio, and I cannot wait.

Then again, I know that second year will be busier than last year. This time, the grades count. However, I’ve chosen to study radio, online and ethics amongst the compulsory modules – topics I’m interested in and will enjoy, so whilst it’ll be a challenge, I’ll love every second.

Lastly, I have to talk about Freshers’ Week, which starts tonight. Example, Scouting for Girls and Matt Willis (from Busted) are all playing across the seven days, so it’s fair to say that my Students’ Union did an excellent job with bookings this year. You can read my review of the week in next Sunday’s post. 

Are you off to university this month? What are you looking forward to in this academic year? Who’s playing at your Freshers’ Week? Comment below!

Liam

Weekly Update: A Week of Inspiration

On Tuesday, Ann Cleeves – known for creating the famous fictional detective, Vera Stanhope – visited the University of Lincoln to give a Great Minds lecture.

Before that, I was able to watch most of Vera on ITV on the Monday. Judging by Brenda Blethlyn’s portrayal of the detective, I was intrigued by how witty and powerful a character she is. With that in mind, I was curious to find out more in the lecture.

In the lecture itself, Ann talked about where her ideas came from, how she came to create the character of Vera, and why libraries are so important.

When it comes to writing, I’ve always found that meeting fellow writers leaves me feeling inspired – it’s like creativity is infectious…

Then, on Wednesday, the university held a Working Alumni Conference, where previous graduates returned to Lincoln to talk about their jobs in the industry.

Very much like the Ann Cleeves guest lecture, I left the conference inspired. Talking to people who are experienced in your interests allows you to share tips, make contacts and consider new opportunities and ideas.

Lastly, the Parliamentary Outreach Team visited the university on Friday to talk about government and parliament. Over the past year, my interest in politics has increased massively. One thing I learnt in particular is how I can get involved. I may just visit Parliament again one day.

Listen to the latest episode of Brunchtime:

On the whole, it was a very inspiring week. How was your week? Comment below!

Liam